President Ex-Afghan: Biden's order on frozen funds is an atrocity

The White House's order to freeze $3.5 billion of Afghan assets in the U.S. for the families of 9/11 victims was condemned by Afghanistan's former president.

President Ex-Afghan: Biden's order on frozen funds is an atrocity

At a packed news conference, former President Hamid Karzai sought to get the support of Americans, especially the families of those who lost their loved ones in the terrorist attacks of September 11. He called it "unjust" and said that Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader, had also made Afghans suffer.

After being expelled in 1996 from Sudan, Bin Laden was taken to Afghanistan by Afghan warlords. These same warlords would later allegise with the U.S. coalition to defeat the Taliban in 2001. After the horrific 9/11 attacks, which killed thousands, Mullah Mohammad Obaid Omar, the Taliban leader refused to hand bin Laden over to the U.S.

Karzai stated that the Afghan people share the American people's pain, the pain of their loved ones who have lost their lives due to the September 11 tragedy. We sympathize with them, but Afghans are just as victims as the families that lost their lives. ... It is wrong and unfair to withhold money or seize money from Afghans in their names. This is a crime against Afghan people.

President Biden signed an order last Fridayfreeing $7 billion of Afghan assets. These assets are now being divided among 9/11 victims and humanitarian aid for Afghans.

The families of Sept. 11 victims have legal claims against the Taliban, and $7 billion in U.S. bank system. A U.S. court was given $3.5 billion to determine whether the money can be used to pay claims of families of 9/11 victims. Before humanitarian assistance money could be released, U.S. courts will also need to approve.

Karzai stated that we "ask U.S. courts for the opposite, to give the Afghan money back the Afghan people." "This money doesn't belong to any government, it belongs to the peoples of Afghanistan."

Biden's order also calls for $3.5 billion in humanitarian aid to be placed into a trust to help Afghans and bypass their Taliban rulers.

Karzai demanded that $7 billion be returned the Afghanistan central bank to support its monetary policy. Karzai argued against the transfer of Afghan reserves to international aid organisations to provide humanitarian assistance.

He said, "You give us your own money so it can be used for foreigners who have come here, to pay them salaries, or to give it (non-governmental organisations)".

Afghanistan's economy is on the verge of collapse due to the fact that no international money has been coming in since the arrival of the Taliban in mid-August. The United Nations issued a $5 billion appeal last month for Afghanistan. U.N. warns 1 million children of the danger of starvation and 90% of Afghans are below the poverty line of $1.90 per day.

After the U.S.-led coalition defeated the Taliban in 2001, Karzai became Afghanistan's first democratically elected president. Before Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on August 15, leaving open the possibility for the Taliban to take over Kabul, Karzai served until 2014. Although Karzai was widely regarded for his willingness to embrace all Afghan ethnic groups, his administration was plagued by corruption charges, just like the subsequent Afghan administrations.

At a packed press conference held in his sprawling compound, Karzai addressed the crowd. A second-floor conference room was occupied by more than a dozen television cameras and dozens of Afghan Pashto-and Persian-language journalists.

Karzai used the news conference as a platform to pressure the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan and their enemies to agree to a solution. As a way to reach consensus and create a more representative government, he lobbied for loya Jirga, the traditional Afghan grand council.

He said, "We, the Afghans and the current Islamic government, must do our best not to give America or any other nation any excuse to be against me."

Since Friday's White House announcement, anger has grown in Afghanistan. On Sunday, protestors marched in Kabul again demanding that the money be returned for Afghanistan. The Taliban also condemned Biden’s order and dispersed protesters trying to gather near the Eid Gah mosque.


 

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